We hear it all the time – if Christians love each other, why are there so many different churches? Why are there church splits all the time? The Mennonite Church has been suffering through this lately, but let’s be honest, they have suffered with it since the beginning of the anabaptist beliefs.
Churches split. Churches split from their denomination. Denominations split. Individual members leave. Do we really not love each other or is there another issue?
We are people in a fallen world. We have free will. Let’s face it – if you get two people together they may not agree on anything! Sometimes I can’t even agree with my wife over what to eat for dinner. We disagree on movies. I like to listen to talk radio – she hates it. We agree on most things but you see the point – there are not too many people that you want to live with.
Magnify that free will by 300 church members or 95,000 denomination members. You get the point. It is really hard for all of us to get along! Churches split over stupid issues – the color of carpet or church name. Sometimes they split over serious issues – doctrine, worship style or leadership.
In the past, Mennonite churches split over insurance, TV and coverings. Now it is facing the not so small issue of gay marriage and leadership. Will gay marriage be like insurance and be a non issue in 20 years? Or will it continue to be a doctrinal plank that divides the church?
The little town that I live in has 2,800 citizens and 7 churches. I don’t go to any of them – I drive 25 minutes to a different church on the other side of our county. Why? Good question.
Acts 15:38-40 (NIV)
38 but Paul did not think it wise to take him, because he had deserted them in Pamphylia and had not continued with them in the work. 39 They had such a sharp disagreement that they parted company. Barnabas took Mark and sailed for Cyprus, 40 but Paul chose Silas and left, commended by the believers to the grace of the Lord.